Crawley beaten by winner in fourth minute of stoppage time
Promotion-chasing Plymouth snatched a winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time against heartbroken Reds.
For the second successive game Crawley finished with ten men after top scorer James Collins was sent off in the 79th minute for a foul on Yann Songo’o.
Contact was minimal but referee Ben Toner reached for his pocket, having booked Collins earlier in the second half.
Reds looked to have negotiated the closing stages successfully with Glenn Morris untested - as he had been for much of the afternoon.
But when Lewis Young horribly sliced a clearance back to Antoni Sarcevic on the edge of his own box the midfielder played in Ryan Taylor who held off Joe McNerney and fired low and hard past Morris.
Not surprisingly, it sent the 1,540 Plymouth contingent into raptures but Argyle claims that justice had been served with their late winner were a wild exaggeration of events.
For an hour, the hosts had been the better side in a game of few clear-cut chances with Reds having to robust a physical visiting team, whose only spark of creativity was provided by No.10 Graham Carey.
Enzio Boldewijn looked up for the battle early on and was involved in three good moves, the third of which earned Crawley a 29th minute lead that they deserved for a purposeful start.
His pass played in the overlapping Young whose low cross found Dean Cox and he side-footed past Luke McCormick before rightly taking the plaudits from the fans for his first Crawley goal.
Reds were deservedly in front. Morris hadn’t made a save for the first hour with James Collins going close at the start of the second half before McCormick held Andre Blackman’s long-range effort at the second attempt.
But the game changed in the 63rd minute when Mark Connolly brought down Sarcevic a yard inside the box. Referee Toner was ideally placed to award a penalty and although Morris dived the right way Carey’s spot-kick had too much power.
Dermot Drummy made three substitutions in the closing stages and the game seemed to be petering out into a draw which would have been the least Crawley deserved for a hardworking performance.
Instead Plymouth got the break which all teams vying for promotion seem to get and can now look forward to League One football. For Reds, there is still work to do to secure their League 2 place for next season.
Crawley Town: Morris; Young, Connolly, McNerney, Blackman; Boldewijn, Smith, Djalo (Payne 83), Cox (Murphy 85), Clifford (Harrold 80), Collins. Unused subs: Mersin, Garnett, Bawling, Lelan.
Yellow cards: McNerney, Collins. Red card: Collins.
Man of the match: Dean Cox
Attendance: 3432 (1540 Plymouth).